I’ve never really felt connected to the LGBT community, until my dad joined it.
My parents told me my dad was gay 3 years ago, shortly after they divorced. It was hard at first, but I am happy that he is living the life he wants.
I suppose being the heterosexual, teenage son of a gay father puts me in a somewhat unique community of which I am both happy and proud to be a part. Yet, I believe my role within that community is actually to guide those outside of it, helping them to know what — or what not — to say to help foster understanding.
Here are five things you should never say to a child whose parent has come out of the closet — from someone who knows:
1. “I’m sorry” – Condolences are entirely unnecessary. He’s gay; he’s not under the weather.
2. “Your poor mother” – I offer that it’s better for her to know, than to live her life in the dark. My mother is recently remarried and on great terms with my father. We still take family vacations together and my dad attended — and danced — at my mom’s wedding.
3. Does he help you choose what to wear? Does he like sports? – No, he never offers clothing advice and, yes, my dad is a huge sports fan. He even once coached my soccer team.
4. Can you talk about girl stuff with him? – Not really, but honestly I don’t know a single teenage boy who actually enjoys talking to his parents about that stuff.
5. Silence – The worst and most common offense: the averted eye glance or quick change of subject.
While I am fairly new to the community of kids of LGBT parents, I do hope these tips help others understand all of our place within it.